According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function caused by the heart’s electrical system malfunctioning. Each year about 295,000 emergency medical services-treated out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. And as many know from the loss of loved ones, cardiac arrest is one of our nation’s leading killers.
There are several barriers preventing widespread CPR education dissemination to the public: the need for trained CPR-certified instructors to conduct a course, and the cost and length of a course itself. In addition, many CPR training activities occur in the workplace or in a school among younger, healthier subjects. However, most sudden cardiac arrests occur in the home with spouses of similarly-aged family members.
To help improve the odds of survival for our patients once they leave our hospital, PPMC is participating in the CPR Hospital-Initiated Training Project. The program was first piloted at PPMC in 2010. Championed from the start by Jim Kurtz, RN, the initiative has seen great success over the years. In fact, earlier this year, the project grew and is now being carried out in seven other facilities in the region, including HUP and PAH.
“The goal of the project is to use the hospital as a unique ‘point of capture’ to empower at-risk families with the life-saving tool of CPR,” said Audrey L. Blewer, MPH, project manager.
Through the project, CPR training is offered on the cardiology and telemetry wards where nurses work with family members of patients with cardiovascular risk factors to learn the life-saving skill of CPR. Families with at-risk members will be sent home with an American Heart Association “CPR Anytime Kit” – a 25-minute program complete with a personal inflatable manikin and instructional DVDs. “This Anytime Kit overcomes many of the barriers to traditional CPR courses, such as timing and expense,” said Blewer, “and emphasizes hand-on-practice, allowing participants to gain confidence and be willing to share what they’ve learned with others.”
The project is part of a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by Principal Investigator, Benjamin Abella, MD, MPhil, of the Center for Resuscitation Science at HUP. In addition to teaching and empowering others within and outside of the hospital environment to save lives with CPR, the study will also follow-up with participants to track instruction retention, all in an effort to better refine training methods.
Many thanks go out to the PPMC volunteers who have been an integral part of this project for the last few years!